Alabama quarterback Mac Jones didn’t win the Heisman Trophy on Tuesday night, but he had a big hand in helping the player who did.
Jones’ teammate, receiver DeVonta Smith, earned the annual award, given to college football’s top player.
Instead of winning the award on the big stage under the lights in Manhattan or in Times Square, it was a pandemic-style ceremony held virtually.
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the presumptive No. 1 pick in this year’s NFL draft, finished runner-up. Jones was third and Florida quarterback Kyle Trask was fourth.
Smith was just the ninth receiver to be named a finalist, and first to garner the trophy since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991.
Smith’s season was staggering. He had 105 receptions for 1,641 yards and 20 touchdowns against an SEC-only schedule in the regular season. Smith also drew far more attention after an injury fellow wideout Jaylen Waddle in late October. Still, he delivered time and again, including a three-touchdown game against Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl.
Jones, a Bolles School product, was delivering those passes to Smith. Although he didn’t win the trophy, Jones had a season for the books.
And it’s still going.
Alabama (12-0) faces Ohio State (7-0) for the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday. Jones will try and become the second area quarterback to be named a Heisman finalist and win a national title in the same season.
Former Florida quarterback Tebow pulled it off in 2007 when he won the award and beat Oklahoma for the national title. Tebow was a three-time Heisman finalist.
Jones had an incredible season and raked in the accolades to prove it.
He passed for 4,036 yards and 36 touchdowns, throwing just four interceptions along the way. Those passing totals rank second in college football, trailing only Florida’s Kyle Trask (4,283 yards, 43 TDs), a fellow Heisman finalist. Jones was a consensus first-team All-American selection. He won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award on Monday.
Another Alabama alum, running back Derrick Henry, is the only other area player to earn a Heisman finalist spot. He won the award in 2015. Tebow played at Nease from 2003-05 and Henry was a four-year starter at Yulee from 2009-2012.
Jones played his way in to the Heisman spotlight, and ultimately, the first-round draft conversation should he elect to leave school early. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said on Monday that he sees Jones as a middle of the first-round prospect.